Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Glimpse: An Engaging Class on World War I
As we continue to incorporate strategies to engage students in education in order to develop critical thinking and analysis skills, I visited Mr. Vogel's 8th grade classroom and saw the lesson described below.

Mr. Vogel’s 8th grade social studies class began with a framing question of How was WW1 different from previous wars?

Mr. Vogel assembled nine stations, each consisting of engineering draft-pictures of WW1 military technologies, an outline of how the weapon was used, and the estimated number of casualties this weapon was responsible for in certain WWI battles. The nine stations included the airplane, flamethrower, artillery, trench system, battleship, machine gun, German U- boat, tank, and poison gas.

After a brief introduction, students read about each technology and made initial predictions on how it might have changed the war experience for soldiers, analyzed and matched primary source document excerpts to the nine stations, and revised their original predictions about how the technologies affected soldiers’ experiences.

Finally, as a reflection, students created “human bar graphs” to evaluate (1) the technology they thought was most feared by soldiers, (2) the technology they thought most changed the way war was fought, and (3) the technology they thought left the most lasting impact on future warfare.
This lesson also incorporated the Plan, Work, Reflect cycle which Developmental Designs infuses into our everyday operations as a division. As we go forward, we will continue to develop lessons and projects which target these 21st century skills in ways that are engaging to students.

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